A! Magazine for the Arts

Windfall for Region's Art Organizations

July 5, 2010

*** This story was published June 24, 2010, in the Bristol (Va.) Herald Courier. ***

BRISTOL, Tenn. – The Rhythm & Roots Reunion can look forward to a $34,000 check arriving soon, as the Tennessee Arts Commission announced its grant recipients for fiscal 2010-11.

The Twin City-based music festival will get more than 20 percent of the more than $147,000 in grants split among 11 arts organizations in Bristol and Kingsport. The agency will provide about 850 grants totalling $7.3 million statewide, according to a written statement.

Contacted Wednesday afternoon, festival Executive Director Leah Ross was ecstatic.

"Did we get that much money? I haven't gotten my letter yet. I can't believe it," she said.

The money will be used to pay some of the more than 100 artists who will perform at this September's festival, Ross said.

"We qualify for general operating support, so the money will go into our operating budget. It will go toward artist fees," Ross said.

Released by state Rep. Jon Lundberg, R-Bristol, the 1st District list includes six organizations in Bristol and five in Kingsport.

Among other Twin City recipients, the Birthplace of Country Music Alliance is set to receive $25,000. The Arts Alliance Mountain Empire will receive $5,100, Bristol Concert Ballet Co. $4,000 and the Paramount Foundation $3,600.

Kingsport's Symphony of the Mountains will receive two grants totalling $35,200, while the Arts Council of Greater Kingsport is set to get $11,500.

"The Tennessee Arts Commission's matching grants are made possible through an appropriation of state funds by the General Assembly, federal dollars from the National Endowment for the Arts and by Tennesseeans who purchased specialty and collegiate license plates," Lundberg said.

Sales of the specialty plates represent a significant portion of the appropriation, he said.

"This way we don't impact the taxpayers, and a part of the proceeds from those sales can go toward funding the arts," Lundberg said.